Percy, Hemingway and the Gang


This is a post about reading. This is a digestible, relatable book list.

I’m an explorer of space and mind, and rea my most dog-eared ticket. I read constantly, everything from the WSJ, Harvard Business Review and NYT to novels and short stories.

When Pilar told Robert in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls that he was “a miracle of deafness,” I fell apart. It’s this kind of lyricism, this kind of perspective, that I value in writing and storytelling.

With that in mind, I’d like to share a few of the best things I’ve read recently. Books first:

1. The Moviegoer, by Walker Percy: Never has ennui looked so glamorous, or felt so atmospheric.

2. Anna Karenin, by Leo Tolstoy: A grand epic, and an astonishingly detailed masterwork. Thousands of pages of engrossing story – a reader’s dream.

3. A High Wind in Jamaica, by Richard Hughes: Rich, fantastical and engaging, like a fairy -tale dreamscape. Interesting questions of innocence and childhood.

4. Bogmail, by Patrick McGinley: Moments of insight crackle through this unconventional English-Irish murder mystery, though mystery is used loosely.

5. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway: A complex, vaguely masculine portrait of the tensions of wartime. Often surprising, never overwrought.

6. Four Fish, by Paul Greenberg: Stellar investigation into the fishing and aquaculture industries. Manages to inform and critique without aggression.

7. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan: Must-read for anyone interested in food production and food ethics. A bit slow at the outset, fascinating throughout.

8. All Over but the Shouting, by Rick Bragg: Gorgeous, intimate and moving. Laughed and cried, often simultaneously.

9. Mrs. Bridge, by Evan S. Connell: A stunning, understated piece dealing with 20th century femininity that brims with hopefulness and pathos.

This is by no means all, but it is some of the best. I’d recommend all of them. Maybe I’ll get around to writing an “if this, then that” of book recommendations later this year.

Now for the articles:

1. Studying the secrets of childhood memory, by Daniel Goleman in the New York Times: fascinating links between long-term and short-term memory

2. Sometimes, riders find a cabby worth praising, by Matt Flegenheimer in the New York Times: fine feature writing

3. Europe’s wild men, by Rachel Hartigan Shea in National Geographic, with accompanying photo gallery: interesting and relevant reading as springtime bears (pun definitely intentional) down upon us.

I usually post the best articles I find on Twitter, so keep an eye out there for the daily reading recommendations.

N.B.: The photo above is from Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston, SC. If you get a chance to go, do! It’s owned by UNC grad Jonathan Sanchez, and is just brimming over with atmosphere.

As always, laissez les bon temps rouler,

the girl


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